2019 record year for mass killings in the U.S., mass shootings the main cause

Although the national homicide rate in the United States decreased, mass killings hit an all time record with 41 incidents claiming 211 lives in 2019. Of those 41 mass killings, 33 were mass shootings.

A database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University shows that there were more mass killings in 2019 than any year dating back to at least the 1970s, punctuated by a chilling succession of deadly rampages during the summer.

According to The Associated Press:

  • Most mass killings did not get the media attention as others “because they didn’t spill into public places like massacres in El Paso and Odessa, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Jersey City, New Jersey.”
  • The majority of mass killings involved people who knew one another: “family disputes, drug or gang violence or people with beefs that directed their anger at co-workers or relatives”
  • 2006 held the previous record with 38 incidents.
  • 2017 holds the record for the amount of people who died from mass killings (224 victims). The mass shooting in Las Vegas claimed the lives of 58 people and injured more than 850.
  • All but 8 of the mass killings involved a firearm.
  • California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country with more slated to go into effect Jan. 1, 2020, saw the most mass killings. Eight incidents occurred in CA during 2019. However, “big cities like New York, to tiny towns like Elkmont, Alabama, with a population of just under 475 people” also experienced a mass killing.
  • Nine mass killings occurred in a public place while the other 32 incidents occurred in homes, at the workplace, or a bar.
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